The objective of the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) initiative is to provide the inhabitants of the European Union and certain other neighbouring countries with common payment methods, enabling them to carry out payment transactions in euros in identical conditions whatever the country. The transactions concerned are transfers, direct debit payments and payments by credit card.
In 2002, the European banks founded the European Payment Council in order to respond more effectively to the efforts of the European Commission to establish a regulatory framework for payments. At the onset, the SEPA area grouped together the 27 countries of the European Union, in addition to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Realising that the Monegasque market could not remain outside the SEPA area, the Department of Finance and the Monegasque Association for Financial Activities (AMAF) quickly made known to the EPC their wish for Monaco to join the SEPA area.
In the autumn of 2006, a representative of the AMAF and a representative of the Government of Monaco contributed to the work of the SEPA French national committee, implemented by the Banque de France and the French Banking Federation.
At the same time, an application was made to the EPC which officially agreed to Monaco joining the SEPA area at the plenary meeting on 31st March 2009.
Financial institutions on the marketplace have been preparing to use the SEPA tool for many months. Branches of European banking firms that are already members of SEPA can therefore begin their first transactions as of today. Banks under Monegasque law are required to finalise their membership and their first SEPA transactions are expected to take place as of October 2009.